Newcombe gardening outside a library in Haringey

Gardener wins Haringey Heroes award for making borough greener

A gardener won a Haringey Heroes award for his contribution in making the borough greener. 

Founder of GrowN22 Luke Newcombe, 46, was named as one of the Mayor’s Heroes of Haringey 2022 on 20 March for his role in developing green spaces around the borough. 

He received the award from Mayor of Haringey Adam Jogee at George Meehan House, home of Haringey Register Office.

Newcombe, who had just finished landscaping the grounds of the building, said: “I wasn’t expecting any type of award so it was really nice to be recognised for my work.

“My idea has always been to get rid of the grey and replace it with green and I’m glad that people like what GrowN22 has created so far.

“I’m hoping for it to be a community hub which everyone in Haringey can enjoy.

“Your focus with these projects is always on the people it’s going to benefit.”

Newcombe created GrowN22’s predecessor Duke’s Gardens in 2017 after becoming dissatisfied with his high-paying office job.

He explained: “It got to the point one day where I thought that I could be doing something outdoors where I’m working in gardens and helping to improve the environment.” 

Duke’s Gardens was focused around the Noel Park neighbourhood which had become a derelict area despite being known as a garden suburb in the 19th century when it was built. 

However, Newcombe realised he needed to operate under an official body when developing the Westbury Banks Nature Reserve, causing him to merge Duke’s Gardens into community interest company GrowN22.

Creating the Westbury Banks Nature Reserve has been one of GrowN22’s biggest projects, which Newcombe calls ‘urban greening interventions’.

It saw Newcombe and his team of volunteers clear out over three tonnes of rubbish to transform a neglected fly-tipping hotspot into a teeming natural environment.

The reserve, located on Westbury Avenue, is over 150 metres long and consists of four banks home to a variety of plants.

Volunteers continue to tend and develop the banks, which feature a walkway, rockery, pond and bug hotels. 

Newcombe, who wants to create a lasting impact in his community, said: “I’m not thinking about my generation with this but future generations, as climate change is only getting worse and not enough people are taking action.

“You’d be surprised by the amount of people who live in properties where they don’t have access to a green space so it’s critical for us to create them.

“I still wake up for work with a big smile on my face because it’s a great environment to be in.” 

Other GrowN22 projects include a garden outside Wood Green Library and improvements made to Cranbrook Park in partnership with its resident’s association. 

Newcombe’s company is set to install a parklet in Haringey this summer, after securing £25,000 of funding from the Mayor of London’s Grow Back Greener Fund

The parklet will serve as both a resting point for adults and a play area for children.

A naming competition for the site is to be held at a nearby school and children will be involved in its maintenance. 

To learn more about GrowN22’s upcoming projects, visit its website.

Featured image credit: @Duke_Nuke via Twitter

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles